EA stock surges on earnings

Publisher's share price spikes nearly 15% following better-than-expected holiday-quarter report.

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Yesterday, Electronic Arts reported its earnings for the quarter ending December 31, 2010. Using generally accepted accounting principles, it was a rough quarter for the company, with $322 million in losses on $1.05 billion of revenue. However, excluding one-time charges such as restructuring expenses, the company had a solid quarter, with profits of $196 million on $1.4 billion of revenue.

EA's stock shot skyward this morning.
EA's stock shot skyward this morning.

This morning, the markets reacted to the latter number--strongly. As of press time, EA stock was up nearly 15 percent, or $2.33, to $17.95. Trading volume was heavy, with 31.82 million shares in play, with the stock reaching a high of $18.20 earlier in the day.

EA's stock surge was also fueled by the company's announcement of a $600 million buyback of its stock over the next 18 months. The company also announced that during calendar 2010, five of its games, including Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Medal of Honor, had shipped over 5 million units each. One of those, FIFA 11, shipped over 11 million units worldwide. Digital revenue was also up 39 percent year-over-year.

Following EA's report, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter sent out a note to investors in which he pegged the company's 12-month share price at $21.50. He maintained his "outperform" rating of the stock and narrowed his full-year guidance to $3.682-$3.782 billion from $3.65-$3.90 billion.

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